The Editor-in-Chief of 1UP.com, Mr. Jeremy Parish, has recently received a lot of attention for the changing up his wardrobe. While some would label him as a hipster or Mad Men aficionado, the truth is, as they used to say, is that the clothes make the man. Once you’ve become the man, though, it’s a bit harder to justify hanging out in the lobby during the intermission of a Final Fantasy symphony, or banging your head to chiptunes in the pit at Blip festival. No, once you’ve started dressing smooth, you’ve got to act smooth too, and listen to smooth music. Just because you’re a smooth criminal, though, doesn’t mean you have to give up your gaming roots. Here’s a set of jazzy game tunes that you can shuffle in your iTunes without fear of tarnishing your pressed and cuffed image.
LA Noire Main Theme
While the game leaves much to be desired, I’m hard pressed to find anything to complain about regarding the L.A. Noire soundtrack. Appropriately jazzy and casual, it feels like it’s taken straight out of a classic noir film. It’s too bad the game is nothing like a noir.
Deja Vu Main Theme
One of the first noir-ish games in existence, Deja Vu, the story of amnesiac detective Ace Harding, creates a great atmosphere with its horn-laced soundtrack. Its static visuals and limited animation (if any), rely heavily on sound making the pictures look better, and it sure does. Lucky for us, it was ported to the NES, where we could experience the hard-boiled sounds of intrigue and mystery the way nature intended.
Mafia – Hoboken
Mafia 2 does some very interesting things, like the prison section, but ultimately pales in comparison to the original Mafia, which had a level of freedom missing from its sequel. Sometimes, I like to put on my pork pie hat and take a drive through Little Italy when this track hits the speakers.
Under a Killing Moon – Tex’s Office
Before L.A. Noire and its awkward gameplay and stunning motion capture, there was Tex Murphy. Before Tex Murphy, however, there was Blade Runner. Although the first few Tex Murphy games cribbed liberally from the Ridley Scott film, eventually, Access Software found their own voice and pushed the technological limit of the PC to make it a reality in Under a Killing Moon. It’s the roughest of the modern Tex games, but probably the most remembered. The Tex’s Office theme will remind you of the 90s via the 40s, which barely makes sense. Have another whiskey and don’t worry about it.
Maniac Mansion – Michael’s Theme
Recent Retronauts Lunch Break and podcast featured game Maniac Mansion is overflowing with fantastic music of all genres, all based around the personalities of the kids that you can control. This particular track is the theme of Michael the photographer, and brings the funk along with its smooth. I’m not sure if it’s racist on my part, or your part, but if I said that the character of Michael was an African American, would you be surprised?
Bayonetta – Gates of Hell
The Devil, as portrayed in most media, is often the type of seedy individual who hangs out all night in dive bars, enveloped in cigarette smoke, drinking whiskey by the gross. While God is omnipotent, jovial, saintly, and full of grace, that kind of attitude doesn’t often lead to very interesting music. Harps. There’s nothing swanky about harps. Thankfully, Bayonetta’s guardian of Hell keeps the tradition alive, serving up drinks and guns with suave sophistication.
Grim Fandango – Smooth Hector
I dare you to say something bad on the Internet about Grim Fandango. Such is the (deserved) love for this game, that about 80,000 people donated 3 million dollars to Tim Shafer on the 1% chance that he might make a sequel. It’s highly improbable that circumstance will occur, but, while we wait patiently for the Double Fine Adventure to reveal itself, we can calm our nerves with this selection from Grim’s incredible soundtrack. Also, whiskey.
Sam and Max Hit the Road – Outside Headquarters
Speaking of LucasArts, it should comes as no surprise that a third game has now ended up on this list. Sam and Max Hit the Road is mostly known for its writing, but did you know that the game contained music too?! It’s true! This mellow track that riffs on the main theme is for hanging out side Sam and Max’s headquarters, thoughtfully contemplating your next move. Usually, that involves turning a cat inside out. Just play it cool, though.